In the never-ending search for the answer to the question, "What’s wrong with Carson Wentz," it’s fair to wonder if the series of injuries he suffered from 2017 through 2019 has taken a cumulative toll.
And whether that helps explain the miserable season he’s having.
Doug Pederson was asked about that Monday, and his answer was strange because when you expected him to just say, “Carson’s fine,” he didn’t.
He said he really doesn’t know.
“I hesitate to comment on how he feels or what he is going through,” Pederson said. “I would say that’s probably a Carson question, to see how he feels and how he’s overcome those injuries.”
Shouldn't the head coach know how the starting quarterback feels and what he's going through?
Pederson was also asked if he’s calling games any differently following Wentz’s three season-ending injuries — a torn ACL in 2017, the back fracture in 2018 and a concussion early in the Seattle playoff game last season.
It might explain why Pederson continually refuses to call rollouts for his quarterback, who seems more effective when he's outside the pocket but could be more at risk.
“From a play-caller standpoint, those injuries don’t play a part obviously into how I approach the game or how I call the game,” he said.
Something has changed, because Wentz is clearly not the same guy he used to be. He bounced back from the torn ACL to play at a pretty high level in 2018 before he got hurt. Then he bounced back from the back injury to play well in 2019.
What about the concussion? We all know concussions can have very long-term effects, but Pederson did say a few days after the Seahawks loss that if the Eagles had won the game, Wentz would have been able to start the next week.
They were all very serious injuries. So while they may all be in the past, maybe they’ve taken their toll on Wentz physically, and he’s just not able to physically do what he used to do.
If you pull out film of 2017 Wentz and compare it to 2020 Wentz, it's not the same guy.
Wentz was asked after the loss to the Browns Sunday in Cleveland whether he can be the same player he was in 2017 after three years of injuries.
He kind of answered but not really. He just said he’ll remain as aggressive as ever:
“There are injuries that happen and you cannot control them,” he said. “They are out of your control. Last year — if you want to bring up the concussion — that sucks. Being hit in the back of the head like that is an unfortunate part of the game. That stuff happens. I am not going to change. I am going to give it my all and I am going to keep learning as I am going. I am going to learn how to keep getting to be a better player. Do not get me wrong, as far as aggressiveness, being confident and all of those things? That is not going to change.”
But something has changed, and the longer Wentz performs at the level of an undrafted rookie just finding his way in the NFL, the longer these questions will persist.
Subscribe to the Eagle Eye podcast: